Earth to Goodreads: Testing, testing…

Maybe you’ve heard of Goodreads, a great site for book lovers. Readers can rate and review books they’ve read, create a virtual bookshelf and share it with other users. plus buy books through link to the major online retailers. To my eternal shame, I’d never heard of Goodreads until my publisher Chris Trudeau mentioned it to me as a great way for authors to promote their books. Okay, so my shame wasn’t eternal, it lasted about 18 seconds. And it wasn’t really shame, just mild surprise that I wasn’t aware of a site this, um, good. But I’m going for melodrama in this otherwise dry post, so eternal shame is the phrase I’m using.

After signing up and rating about 80 books I’ve read, I then created an author profile and uploaded a link to my short story collection Life is Good. Here’s what it looks like:

John B. Dutton Goodreads author page

This what it looks like when you haven’t had any reviews… Click the image to go the the book’s Goodreads page.

So far, so good. But what also attracted me to Goodreads is that you can advertise your book on the site. And you can target it by age range or subject matter, which is a fantastic way of reaching an audience that your work might appeal to. You set your bid level for clicks and an overall budget for the time period you choose. This ensures that you won’t overspend your marketing dollars (if you feel like spending is a good idea, of course), because you only pay for clicks, and as long as you’ve written an accurate, enticing ad, some of those clicks should spur purchases. And some of those purchases should translate into (hopefully) positive ratings and shares on readers’ bookshelves.

In other words, you’re kickstarting a viral campaign (which is what online sharing really means). Because depending on friends and family to repost on Facebook or retweet on Twitter probably won’t be enough to get your work known outside your social circles.

Having said all this, I’ve chosen to run my Goodreads ad for one week as a test. In fact, the whole campaign is really a test for my upcoming Young Adult novel, Silent Symmetry, when ad targeting will be even more important for reaching the right readership.

(Speaking of which, I had a creative meeting with designer Alex Nereuta for the cover the other day. It’s going to be good…)

Check out Goodreads if you like to, you know, read good books. It’s fun to rate the books you’ve read, and the auto-suggestion system works very well to remind you of similar books you’ve read that might have slipped your mind. And hey – you might just see one of the ads for Life is Good!

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